On the Intermediate State of the Blessed

St. Gregory the Dialogist ca. 540-604 
 
GREGORY. This thing, speaking generally of all just men, can neither be affirmed nor denied: for the souls of some just men, remaining as yet in certain mansions, be deferred from heaven; by which stay of theirs, what else do we learn, but that they lacked somewhat of perfect justice? And yet is it more clear than day that the souls of them that be perfect, do, straight after death, possess the joys of heaven: the truth whereof Christ himself assureth us, when he saith: Wheresoever the body shall be, thither will the eagles be gathered together; for where our Saviour is present in body, thither, without all question, do the souls of just men assemble themselves; and St. Paul saith: I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ. He, therefore, that doubteth not Christ to be in heaven, how can he doubt that St. Paul’s soul is in the same place? which Apostle speaketh also of the dissolution of his body, and his dwelling in heaven in these words: We know that if our terrestrial house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God; an house not made with hands, but everlasting in heaven.

PETER. If just men’s souls be already in heaven: what then shall they receive for a reward of their virtuous and just life at the day of judgment?

GREGORY. Whereas now their souls be only in heaven, at the day of judgment this further increase of joy shall they have, that their bodies also shall be partakers of eternal bliss, and they shall in their flesh receive joy: in which, for Christ’s sake, they suffered grief and torments. In respect of this their double glory, the scripture saith: In their land, they shall possess double things; and it is written of the souls of the just, that, before the day of resurrection: To every one of them white stoles were given; and it was said to them: that they should rest yet a little time, until the number of their fellow-servants and brethren were complete. They, therefore, that now receive but one stole, in the day of judgment shall every one have two: because now they rejoice only for the felicity of their souls, but then shall they enjoy the endless glory of body and soul together. (Dialogues Bk. 4.25)

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